Lois H. Stokes

Born: Wed., Jan. 23, 1918
Died: Mon., Sep. 3, 2012

Funeral Service

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"Those who live in the hearts of others never die." 


Lois Holmes Stokes, our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, was probably the kindest person any of us will ever know.  Even in her later years, as she struggled with increasing frailty, pain, and memory loss, she remained unfailingly pleasant to everyone.  Her smiles and “Thank you, honey,” were legendary—including in the hospice residence where she spent her final days.


Part of her kindness took the form of feeding others.  All her adult life Loie was renowned for her brownies, which she made frequently and distributed to grateful friends, co-workers, and family. She took casseroles to sick friends, baked cookies for ten years of meetings of the Mahopac Board of Education as well as for many committee meetings and other occasions, and created delicious meals for family and friends.


In her later years Loie also brightened everybody’s days visually, wearing colorful, carefully coordinated outfits, from earrings to shoes. 


Loie was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, and later moved with her family to Illinois.  As a young woman, she rode horses, skated, skied, played tennis and the piano, went dancing with friends, and drove her little roadster with great pleasure.  Later, at the University of Vermont, she and her friends would climb up a mountain carrying their wooden skis and a picnic lunch, eat lunch on top, strap their skis to their leather lace-up boots, and ski down the mountain.


Loie married Charles W. Stokes on August 20, 1938, and moved with him to New Brunswick, New Jersey, where their son Mark was born on May 5, 1940.  Four daughters followed:  Susan in 1941, Shari in 1945, Stephanie in 1951, and Shelley in 1954.  In a great tragedy Stephi drowned in a pond when she was 18 months old, bringing a lasting undercurrent of sadness into Loie’s life.


Loie and Charlie always had gardens, beginning with a Victory Garden in World War II.  While Charlie was mainly in charge of the vegetable garden, Loie was the grower of flowers, which she arranged beautifully and often entered in flower shows.  She also canned, froze, or made jelly from all of the extra food Charlie produced.


Loie was always active in her community. While she and Charlie lived in Mahopac, NY, they worked to establish a town library, and Loie became president of the Mahopac Garden Club.  She took courses at night school and learned to make furniture, jewelry, and silverware.


When Charlie became a professor at SUNY New Paltz, Loie joined the Faculty Wives, a group that provided assistance to the many foreign students who attended New Paltz. Loie served twice as president of the Faculty Wives and twice as Chair of the Foreign Students Committee.  She and Charlie became especially close to Shamie Wachuchu-King, who came from Sierra Leone and now lives in England, and to Luo Li, originally from China and now living in Connecticut.


In New Paltz Loie also joined the New Paltz Garden Club and was active in the Dutch Reformed Church.  She chaired the town’s Beautification Commission for 6 years, during which time the group planted so many trees, New Paltz was designated a Tree City by the organization Tree City USA.  Loie also volunteered for many years for Reach to Recovery, an organization that helps women who have had mastectomies, and for that work she was given an award as the NY State Cancer Volunteer of the Year in her 70’s.  And she continued to bake for everybody!


Charlie and Loie traveled to many parts of the world, sometimes with family, sometimes just as a couple.  During one of their trips to Ireland when Mark and Celia were living there, Loie fell in love with the sound of the Irish harp, so Charlie purchased one for her.  Over the next few years she taught herself to play it and then took lessons so she could play a full-sized  concert harp, pedals and all—which she did beautifully. 


Loie was especially fond of all her grandchildren, interested in their activities, and happy to have them visit her or to go visit them where they lived.  When the great-grandchildren began arriving, Loie delighted in each of them as well.  Three additional tragedies struck Charlie and Loie’s family in their later years:  two of their beloved grandsons, Gregory Stokes and later Gavin Stokes, each died, as did Shari’s husband, Jack Alling.


After Charlie died in 1997, Loie stayed in New Paltz for another three years and then moved to Brookhaven in Lexington, Massachusetts.  In 2011 she moved to New Horizons in Marlboro to be closer to Shelley and to receive care that better fit her needs.


Our lovely, talented, gracious mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother gave us all unconditional love.  She will live in our hearts forever. 


Lois Holmes Stokes was predeceased by her sister Sheridan Marie Cavallaro and is survived by her sister, Betsy Lue Summers of Coopeville, WA; four children:  Mark Stokes of San Antonio, TX, Susan Ellis of Westport, CT, Shari Stokes of Chelmsford, MA, and Shelley Stokes of Marlboro, MA; seven grandchildren:  Harold Ellis of New Haven, CT, Chad Ellis of Brookline, MA, Derek Stokes of San Antonio, TX, Emma Stokes Alling of Los Angeles, CA, Jesse Stokes Alling of  Chelsea, MA, and Justin and Nathaniel Turnbow of Marlboro, MA; and nine great-grandchildren:  Samantha and William Stokes of San Diego, CA, Cameron, Aiden, and Avery Stokes of San Antonio, TX, Jade and Morgan Blais-Ellis of Brookline, MA, and Raymond and Charles Ellis of New Haven, CT.


A private family ceremony will be held to celebrate Loie’s life.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider contributing to any of the following, all of which were dear to her:


Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts

91 Main Street, #103

Marlborough, MA  01752


The Greg Stokes Memorial Scholarship

Box 11203 ASU Station

San Angelo, TX 67909


Greg died in 1995 while attending Angelo State University, where he was an academic and football All American. This fund provides a yearly scholarship that is awarded to the student who best exemplifies Greg’s success in both academics and sports.


The Jack Alling Smart Classroom

C/o The Development Office

Fitchburg State University

120 Pearl Street

Fitchburg, MA  01420


This fund provides a classroom filled with cutting edge technology for undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation.  The Jack Alling Smart Classroom was created to recognize Jack’s magnanimous spirit, his talents in technology, and his never-failing support for Shari’s passion for teaching.


Reach to Recovery

Hudson Valley Surgical Associates

751 Warren Street

Hudson, NY 12534

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Beverly Anderson
   Posted Fri September 14, 2012
What I feel is joy at having known Lois for so long, with inevitable sadness that she has gone. Her beauty was of the kind that got more radiant as she aged and i just loved looking at her, and seeing her smile. Her children aint too shabby either- warm, funny, kind and talented -the best memorial any woman could ask for.
My love to you all
from Beverly

Ginger Biales
   Posted Tue September 25, 2012
My deepest sympathy to the entire family. Your mother/ grandmother was a true lady, with a caring and compassionate soul. I met her several times while we lived in New England. One felt immediately welcome and "at home" through her warm smile and kind eyes. Her legacy will live on through her children and all of the lives they touch and in turn enrich. Wishing you peace and comfort. Fondly, Ginger, Don, Ashley & Lauren

Elaine Markley Suchman
   Posted Thu September 27, 2012
Your wonderful obituary says it all -- except for the impossibility of expressing the remarkable and outstanding woman/person she was. She was
pleased with and proud of all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well she might have been, and gave endless love which she received in return.
It was a great honor and pleasure to know her and her family.
She was a rare and precious gem.

Doris Cooper
   Posted Sat November 03, 2012
What a wonderful tribute to such a special person. She and Charlie were always special to all the Cooper's as we shared friendship and even names over the years as well as memories of Rahway and St. George Ave and Grandma Squier's too. John Cooper died August 17,2011 at age 98. He is missed too. Thank you Susan for your note. With love and sympathy from all the Coopers. Doris Cooper

Lynn Carroll Gilbert
   Posted Sun November 04, 2012
I had the pleasure of giving Lois therapeutic massages for several years in my New Paltz office. She shared her brownies with me and gave her family gift certificates for massages when they came to visit her. I learned the importance of volunteering and my love of gardening from her. She was very special to me and I miss her kind words of encouragement. My heart felt sympathies to her wonderful family.

Monica Crawford & daughter Christie Tandy
   Posted Mon November 05, 2012
What a beautiful obituary! Your mom was a remarkable lady! My mom, Monica Crawford, appreciated your note. She remembers when your mom & dad visited them in Clearwater, FL. My dad, Ron, passed away in 2002. He also had many fond memories of your parents. God Bless you all, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Li Luo
   Posted Wed November 14, 2012
Lois and Charlie were among some of the most beautiful people ever walked the earth. I was very fortunate to be “adopted” by them when I came from China as a student in 1985. They taught me the basic “surviving” skills to live in modern America. Dad Charlie taught me how to drive a car. When I drove the car into a ditch with Charlie in it, all he said was, “This is fun, you didn’t manage to get anyone killed so let’s do it again once we get the car fixed.” I think of Charlie now every time when I sit behind the wheel of the vehicle called “life’s challenges”.

Mom Lois influenced me on how to be a mother, wife, and gardener. Most of all, Lois taught me how to keep grace under fire. When my own husband was going through the long cancer fight, Lois was the emotional and mental support. She was also the grandmother who never forgot to send my child books and cards on birthdays and holidays. Lois continues to live in our hearts as the source of wisdom, peace, and strength. Beautiful people never dies, they simply go to rest. My daughter and I will remember her forever along with all the beautiful things in the world.

Li Luo
(West Hartford, Connecticut)

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